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Xinjiang bombing 'more characteristic of intl terror'

2014-05-05 09:16 Global Times Web Editor: Li Yan

Upgraded technology and political symbolism more characteristic of international terrorism were involved in the deadly Urumqi bomb attack on Wednesday, investigators told the Global Times on Sunday.

The terrorists used a black powder in their explosive devices in a rare suicide bomb attack at the Urumqi South Railway Station on Wednesday, said a Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region law enforcement division official.

"Previously the attackers would try to leave after they planted the bomb. This time they obviously stayed to be killed," he said.

Police had stopped "several" such attacks in the past, he told the Global Times on Sunday on condition of anonymity.

"The attack on the Urumqi train station showed new characteristics. It was well organized with improved technology and an elevated level of extremism," he said.

"The attackers even learned to camouflage themselves so as to attract as little attention as possible before the attack."

Two ethnic Uyghur men stabbed passengers with knives and set off bombs at the exit of Urumqi South Railway Station about 7 pm on Wednesday. They killed themselves and a civilian, injuring 79.

Surveillance footage shows a casually dressed, clean-shaven man approaching the train station carrying a suitcase police believe contained explosives.

Police offered a reward for information on the two suspects, posting pictures online of two men, both wearing caps.

The attack came on the same day Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his four-day visit to Xinjiang that focused on fighting terrorism and improving local people's welfare.

"The attack was well planned and well prepared. It seems that they waited for the perfect time to carry out the attack so that the political significance could be stressed and maximized," another law enforcement official told the Global Times on condition of anonymity.

The black powder used in the explosives could have been collected from firecrackers, he said.

Police have begun looking for the family members of Sedirdin Sawut, one of the two suicide bombers, a third police official confirmed to the Global Times on condition of anonymity.

Police say Sawut, 39, from Xayar county, Aksu prefecture in southern Xinjiang, was long involved in religious extremism.

Local police were ordered to look for Sawut's wife, father, his two cousins and his father-in-law who allegedly went missing after the attack, the third official said.

He suspected Sawut's family members assisted him in the attack and police are looking for tips that lead to their whereabouts.

It is a worrisome pattern if family members participated in such a violent suicidal attack, all three officials agreed.

In October last year, a Uyghur man and his mother and wife died in a vehicle attack that killed two and injured 40 pedestrians near Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Police have also issued a notice looking for two other male suspects who they say might be involved in making the bombs.

Both suspects come from Xayar county and are acquaintances of Sawut, the third official told the Global Times.

Of the 79 injured people in Wednesday's attack, the majority suffered ear problems from the explosion, a Xinjiang publicity department official told the Global Times on condition of anonymity.

Local hospitals have begun offering one-on-one counseling to victims in a program established after the July 2009 Urumqi riots.

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